In This Article...
- Shih Tzu Puppy Diet Requirements
- Our 2023 Picks: Best Puppy Food for Shih Tzus
- Overall Best Shih Tzu Puppy Food
- Our Most Popular Pick
- Our Most Affordable Pick
- Our Pick for Shih Tzu Puppy Allergies
- Our Pick for Shih Tzu Puppy with Sensitive Stomach
- 4 More Top-Rated Shih Tzu Puppy Foods
- Our Shih Tzu Puppy Feeding Guide – Frequently Asked Questions
The Shih Tzu is the ultimate companion pet, bred specifically to be man’s best friend. These little dogs may be small, but they pack a big personality into a small package so watch out!
While most toy and small breed dogs have long lifespans anyway, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to do your job as a dog owner in providing for your pup’s needs. In addition to making sure he sees the vet and gets plenty of exercise, you also need to feed him a high-quality diet.
Keep reading to learn about your Shih Tzu puppy’s dietary requirements and to see our top picks for the best Shih Tzu puppy foods in different categories. You’ll also find our Shih Tzu puppy feeding guide at the end!
Shih Tzu Puppy Diet Requirements
Your Shih Tzu puppy may only weigh a few pounds when you bring him home for the first time and he won’t get a whole lot bigger. The average weight for this breed is 9 to 16 pounds and these dogs only stand 8 to 11 inches tall at maturity. Because they are so small, Shih Tzus don’t tend to eat a lot of food but that doesn’t mean you can skimp when it comes to their diet – a high-quality and nutritious diet is the best way to keep your dog happy and healthy.
All dogs require a blend of protein, fat, and other nutrients in their diet. On average, dogs need about 30 calories per pound of bodyweight to maintain their metabolism and essential bodily functions. What you may not know about your Shih Tzu puppy is that he needs a higher concentration of calories in his diet due to two factors. First, he is a growing puppy, so he needs plenty of energy to fuel his growth and development. Second, small-breed dogs have very fast metabolisms, so they burn calories more quickly.
The most important nutrient for any dog is protein and it should come from whole animal sources like meat and fish. Shih Tzu puppies need at least 22% of their diet to come from protein and 8% from fat – when they reach adulthood, these percentages lower to 18% and 5%, respectively. Shih Tzu puppies need complete proteins (proteins that contain all essential amino acids) and healthy animal fats to provide concentrated energy and to support immunity and healthy skin and coat.
Our 2023 Picks: Best Puppy Food for Shih Tzus
The best puppy food for a Shih Tzu puppy will meet his needs for protein and fat while also being balanced in terms of essential vitamins and minerals. Beneficial ingredients like chelated minerals and probiotic supplements are also a good thing to look for. Here are our picks for the 9 best Shih Tzu puppy foods:
Overall Best Shih Tzu Puppy Food
The best way to ensure that your Shih Tzu puppy’s nutritional needs are met is to feed him a high-quality recipe formulated for toy breeds like this Wellness Complete Health Toy Breed Recipe. This formula features real animal proteins like deboned chicken and turkey, plus digestible carbohydrates like brown rice and oatmeal. With chicken fat as the main source of fat, this recipe is rich in both nutrients and energy while multiple meat sources provide ample protein to fuel healthy growth and development. Plus, the kibbles are perfectly sized for small mouths and there are beneficial supplements like probiotics, prebiotics, and fiber for healthy digestion.
- Pros: Formulated for toy breeds, real animal protein, healthy animal fats, beneficial supplements
- Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, not grain-free
Our Most Popular Pick
If you’re looking for a high-quality puppy food that is well-liked by other dog owners, consider this Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula. Not only is it made with novel proteins, but those proteins are high-quality roasted meats like venison, bison, and lamb. This recipe is grain-free and loaded with protein and fat, plus plenty of supplemental fiber and probiotics for healthy digestion. Though not specifically formulated for toy breeds, the 17% crude fat content is more than enough to sustain your Shih Tzu puppy’s metabolism while 28% protein fuels his growth and development.
- Pros: High in protein and fat, roasted animal proteins, grain-free, probiotic supplements, fiber-rich
- Cons: Contains some plant protein (pea protein), main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil)
Our Most Affordable Pick
Though it is not specifically formulated for toy-breed dogs, this recipe is designed for puppies so it is made with high levels of protein to support growth and development as well as plenty of fat for energy. This American Journal Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe features deboned chicken as the main ingredient with grain-free carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and chickpeas. It is also supplemented with chelated minerals and probiotics for healthy digestion.
- Pros: Real animal protein, rich in protein and fat, grain-free carbohydrates, beneficial supplements
- Cons: Not specifically for toy breeds, some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients
Our Pick for Shih Tzu Puppy Allergies
Any dog has the potential to develop food allergies but Shih Tzus seem to get them at a higher rate than other breeds. If your Shih Tzu puppy has allergies, you’ll want to feed him a high-quality diet made with whole foods but with a limited number of main ingredients to reduce the risk for triggering food allergies and sensitivities.
Our top pick is Canidae Grain-Free PURE Petite Salmon Small Breed Formula because it is made with just 8 whole food ingredients and designed for small-breed puppies. This recipe features fresh salmon and salmon meal with grain-free carbohydrates and it is sprayed with a freeze-dried coating for a boost of added nutrition and natural flavor.
- Pros: Only 8 main ingredients, novel protein source, grain-free, freeze-dried coating, small-breed specific
- Cons: Main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil), some dogs are sensitive to fish ingredients
Our Pick for Shih Tzu Puppy with Sensitive Stomach
If your Shih Tzu puppy has a sensitive stomach, you want a puppy food formulated to have a limited number of main ingredients and made without grains or other ingredients that might trigger a reaction. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Small Breed Puppy food is free from the most common food triggers including chicken, beef, dairy, eggs, corn, wheat, and soy – it is also made without artificial additives. This recipe is made with turkey as the sole source of animal protein and it is balanced with healthy omega fatty acids, plenty of fiber, and beneficial supplements for nutritional balance. Plus, it is designed to support your puppy’s healthy growth and development.
- Pros: Free from common allergens, single source of animal protein, healthy omega fatty acids, fiber-rich
- Cons: Not grain-free, contains some plant protein (pea protein), main source of fat is plant based
4 More Top-Rated Shih Tzu Puppy Foods
If the four recipes above don’t seem like the right fit for your Shih Tzu puppy, don’t worry! There are plenty of other great options out there – here are four more to consider:
This Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Puppy Formula is uniquely designed for small-breed dogs, so it has smaller kibbles and added DHA to support healthy brain development. This recipe features real chicken as the main ingredient with concentrated chicken meal for added protein. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and peas provide fiber and grain-free carbohydrates while chicken fat provides a concentrated source of energy and a balance of essential fatty acids.
- Pros: Real chicken as the main ingredient, grain-free, rich in protein and fat, small kibble size
- Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, contains some plant protein (potato protein)
Formulated specifically for small and toy breeds, this Holistic Select Small & Mini Puppy Health Recipe would be a great option for your Shih Tzu puppy. This recipe is made with anchovy and sardine meal as the primary protein source with chicken meal for supplementary protein. Chickpeas and peas provide gluten-free and grain-free carbohydrates and fiber while chicken fat and flaxseed ensure the optimal balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. This formula comes in a smaller kibble size and contains a whopping 35% crude protein to support your puppy’s growth and development.
- Pros: Real animal protein as main ingredient, high protein concentration, grain-free, healthy fats
- Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, fairly expensive
If you want to feed your Shih Tzu puppy the best of the best and price is no obstacle, this Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Puppy Recipe is a great choice. Not only is it loaded with real chicken in high-protein kibble, but it also includes freeze-dried raw pieces for added protein and natural flavor. This recipe is entirely grain-free, made with digestible carbohydrates like chickpeas and peas, plus plenty of essential fatty acids from chicken fat and fish meal. This formula also contains beneficial supplements but is free from artificial additives, fillers, and byproducts.
- Pros: Real meat as first ingredient, includes freeze-dried raw pieces, grain-free, rich in healthy fats
- Cons: Very expensive, some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients
For a recipe that is formulated for toy breeds like your Shih Tzu puppy, consider this Solid Gold Mighty Mini Toy & Small Breed Recipe. This recipe is made with lamb, sweet potato, and cranberry so it is a great option if your puppy has food allergies or a sensitive stomach. It is completely grain-free and gluten-free, made with digestible carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and chickpeas as well as plenty of healthy fats from chicken fat and salmon oil. It also contains beneficial supplements like chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption and probiotics for healthy digestion.
- Pros: Novel animal protein, grain-free and gluten-free, healthy animal fats, beneficial supplements
- Cons: Contains plant protein (pea protein), some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients (chicken fat)
Our Shih Tzu Puppy Feeding Guide – Frequently Asked Questions
Feeding your Shih Tzu puppy a high-quality puppy food ensures proper growth and development. Because this breed remains small, your puppy will reach his adult size fairly quickly so it is important that he gets the nutrients he needs during this growth period. Choosing one of the 9 top-rated Shih Tzu puppy foods we’ve reviewed above will make sure your pup gets a healthy diet.
How Much Should I Feed a Shih Tzu Puppy?
The amount you feed your Shih Tzu puppy depends on the recipe you choose because every formula is different when it comes to calories. The best thing you can do is follow the feeding recommendations on the package which are based on your puppy’s weight. Take the recommendation for the total daily feeding and divide it by the number of meals you plan to give your puppy.
How Many Times Should a Shih Tzu Puppy Eat a Day?
Because your Shih Tzu puppy has a fast metabolism (especially while he’s growing), you can consider free-feeding – just keeping his food bowl filled. If you find that your puppy has trouble regulating his own consumption, try feeding him three or four small meals a day.
How Long Should I Feed a Shih Tzu Puppy Food?
Most veterinarians recommend feeding puppies a food made for puppies until they are 12 months old. Other veterinarians recommend making the switch once the puppy reaches 80% of his adult size. Because your Shih Tzu puppy will only grow up to 16 pounds at most, he’ll likely reach that weight well before he hits 12 months. Even so, you should keep feeding him puppy food until he’s 1 year old just to make sure he gets the nutrients he needs to develop properly.
Shih Tzu Puppy Food – A Final Word
The Shih Tzu is a wonderful breed and few things are quite as adorable as a Shih Tzu puppy. If you want to enjoy your Shih Tzu puppy for as long as possible, make sure to feed him a high-quality diet and follow the feeding tips you’ve learned here. Good luck!